Do you have ONE friend and expect them to participate in every aspect of your life? Unlikely. You probably have some friends you’d choose to go shopping with; others who are great for a night out; others who are great when you need a shoulder to cry on.
Life is a rich tapestry, and we surround ourselves with friends and family that all play different roles. There isn’t ONE person that can fulfil every requirement.
In the same way, when we’re learning about aromatherapy and holistic health, we don’t need to single out just ONE source.
In my opinion, the best education is from a variety of quality sources. People often ask me “What’s the best aromatherapy book?” My honest answer? It’s impossible to choose one. I have an ever-growing collection, and I use them all in different ways.
Let me tell you a quick story.
When I was training at college, I remember sitting in the library working on some coursework. One of the tasks was to create a big table of essential oil profiles – including therapeutic properties, main uses, blending partners, and so on. Some students used just one textbook to fill out their tables. They finished the project really quickly, and felt pretty smug about it.
Whereas I sat there, with 7 or 8 books around me, compiling information from various sources. You’ll rarely find exactly the same details in every aromatherapy book – the lists of properties and uses will vary between sources. Aromatherapy is as much of an art as a science, and I relished reading the different perspectives among authors. I didn’t want to use just one source for my table – I wanted to use a variety of sources, and compile my findings. This is more of a holistic way of learning and, I feel, provides a richer education. It took much longer for me to finish the project, but this research was all worthwhile. I felt that my table was the most comprehensive and accurate, as I’d weighed up the information from a range of sources.
To me, this felt natural. The idea of just using one source baffled me. It’s like walking into a wallpaper shop and buying the first design you see. Don’t you want to see what else is available in other shops?
You don’t need to find ONE Facebook expert, or ONE YouTuber, or ONE blog or ONE “Doctor” to provide all your aromatherapy education.
Sometimes it’s difficult to establish whether sources are trustworthy – so I totally understand why people want to find a good source and then latch onto it. It’s a bit like finding a hairdresser – once you discover a good one, you want to stick with them forever!
But aromatherapy is not really about following a ‘guru’. You might think I’m referring to a specific person here – let me make it clear, I’m not referencing anyone in particular. There are several ‘gurus’ of the aromatherapy world – all with valid, inspiring, useful information to share. Different opinions challenge us and broaden our minds to different perspectives. How can we grow without looking beyond the confines of our group? We should be questioning things, and exploring new possibilities.
People are always looking for “the list” of essential oils for this, or “the list” of essential oils for that. But there is no universally agreed “list”. Aromatherapy is not about a strictly defined list of rules. Opinions vary widely, and this makes it all the more interesting.
I doubt any of the ‘gurus’ would suggest people read one aromatherapy book and then call it a day. The wider you read, the better.
When people ask me to recommend books, I always suggest checking out their local library. Libraries are brilliant, and so often overlooked. You can access a wide range of resources without having to spend a fortune. Then, you can decide which books you’d like to go and purchase for yourself, to keep in the long term.
The library was a godsend for me. When I first became interested in aromatherapy, I went to the library and gobbled up every book I could find that was related to holistic health. I used to sit up in bed at night, reading them from cover to cover. It got to the stage where I’d read every holistic book on the shelves – at which point I decided to go and enrol on a college course!
So, my point is this: the more sources, the better. It’s not a good idea to get all your aromatherapy information from just one source. We are all learning, and education never ends. Of course, we need QUALITY sources, which is why I’m always careful who I recommend.
I certainly don’t expect people to use my blog as their sole aromatherapy resource. This is why I actively share posts and information from other trusted sites. No-one is an expert on everything. I’ll hold my hands up and say I’m not the best at chemistry. I prefer writing about other aspects of aromatherapy, drawn from my own experiences of working as a therapist over many years. I certainly do not consider myself to be an expert, I’m just here to share my thoughts and findings with you.
When people ask me a question I don’t know, I never use just one book. I will look through all my books until I’m satisfied that I’ve done my research.
Any posturing about being the “only” source you can trust is ridiculous. There is much playground squabbling about who is a “proper” aromatherapist and who is not.
Different sources bring different things to the table. Some books are great for recipes, some blogs are great for beginners. Some sources have great videos, others have interesting articles. Some authors write about the science of essential oils, some write about the metaphysical side of aromatherapy. Some writers are theory-based, others write from the perspective of hands-on experience. Some are experts in chemistry, some are not.
There are many aspects of aromatherapy, and it cannot all be distilled into one source.
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